Me & Her (a story fragment)
by Cameron Barrett

He thought of the boat gently rocking with the rhythm of the waves, the pretty girl sitting next to him right between the oars, hands resting in her lap. The boat tipped and she gripped his hand tightly. From the shore, faint music and muffled conversations drifted out to them on the backs of bugs and night creatures. They had come out here to escape the confines of the party and to get some fresh air. She complained she didn't like the cigarette smoke and he motioned towards the boat. She looked at him with her large beautiful green eyes and smiled politely. The boat rocked gently.

He watched her from across the orange and black bowling alley chairs in the Laundromat. She was pretty cute. He tossed clothes into the washer and fed it quarters. She met his gaze briefly and gave him a glimpse of a smile. As her sweaters and panties tumble-dried on low, she pretended to read a tattered Cosmo with Brooke Shields on the cover. He played video games.

The boat tipped and rocked as she took off her sweater. He watched her pull it over her head bringing most of her shirt underneath with it. She was wearing a black lace bra. Something leaped within his chest and he almost gasped. It was very humid that night, the moisture hanging in the air. Thoughts raced around in his head buzzing. They sat there in the boat, saying nothing, afraid it would scare away the moment. Without speaking, they fell in love that night, not sure exactly what tomorrow would be like. Waves lapped the boat.

He decided her name was Amy. She decided his name was Andrew. They both played coy behind their magazine shields, the chugging of the washers making background noise. He put down his Field & Stream and asked her where she lived. The game had begun. Before long, dates were made and life went on behind them. They met.

On the boat, he was trying to take off his suit jacket. She was listening to the crickets. They did not speak. She looked at him without speaking and he looked back. They both wondered if this was love, both afraid to ask. Off in the distance, an animal howled and she shivered in fear.